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East Coast Writing...An Old Friend Surprises Me...The Indy 50

Jul 21 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Tuesday morning and the heat is already rolling in. But, at least we'll have high humidity so that will help.



My writing appointment was with two young friends near Boston, Rob Bellamy and Ayla Brown.  It’s the first time we’ve had a chance to write since they left Music City for the east coast where Ayla is fast becoming a radio star on the country station there. We caught up, and I found out her Dad and Mom are still in New Zealand.  Her Father is the Ambassador for the US there…still.  I had thought they were home from that assignment, but Ayla tells me her folks are still doing the ambassador thing on that beautiful continent.  Rob is doing a lot of playing at night while Ayla is performing some but trying to get enough sleep to do here morning show.  I know that routine.  Tired becomes almost a good friend doing that early shift. 


The two of them had beating up on an idea they liked but could not finish.  It needed another verse and some tweaking, and we got that done and put another song in their catalog.  AND we started a second song from an idea I was writing with them in mind that they like…so we’ll re-hook up in August and finish that idea.  It’s rewarding watching friends do well at what they love.



Yesterday my wife held up a little surprise for me I knew nothing about.  A new book from one of my longtime friends Roger Naylor titled “Crazy for the Heat” (Arizona Tales of Ghosts, Gumshoes and Big Foot).  Roger wrote comedy for my radio show in Cincinnati eons ago and through the years we’ve stayed in touch.  Anytime I get a chance to get to Arizona I try to make sure I get up to Cottonwood to see Roger and his wife Michele who live in Cottonwood just south of Sedona.  We hike, tell old stories and laugh…always laugh.


If you look up the phrase “Desert Rat” I’m pretty sure you’ll see a picture of my friend Roger.  He hikes thousands of miles on the trails in the desert and writes about it.  His Facebook page should be viewed by anyone who loves scenic pictures and incredibly colorful writing.  Roger is so good at it he went into the Hall of Fame a couple of years ago for Travel writing for the state of Arizona.  He’s the guy out there.  And if you ever go to Cottonwood and ride the Camp Verde Railroad (which I highly suggest you do) Roger is THE voice on the train letting you know about the historical sites you see along your journey on that beautiful railride. 


What’s really COOL about this book is, when you open it up to page three you’ll read, “To Bill Whyte and Mike Farrow.  Longtime friends and very funny guys”.  I can’t tell you how that moved me.  Gosh.  Mike Farrow is a long-time comedian with an alter ego character called “Tommy Sledge” …a comic detective in a trench coat with a typewriter…think old school.  I’m sure Mike is as honored as I am that Roger would do this.  I can’t wait to jump into this book of fiction and tall tales sprinkled with Arizona scenery.  Thank you Roger…love ya man.



Stores will no longer make change.  They don’t have any.  There’s a coin shortage.  Finally those nickels and dimes I’ve salvaged between the cushions of my couch are going to make me wealthy!


Anthony Fauci has been selected to throughout the Opening Day first pitch for the World Series Champions Washington Nationals.  Both he and the catcher will be wearing a mask…I’m betting.


Speaking of masks.  Disney World is fully opened with masks required except when eating or drinking.  They’ve amended that now to make it stricter.  You can only eat and drink while stationary with appropriate social distancing. And you can longer walk and eat or drink at the same time.  You must be seated.  So one will not see a big ole Bubba with a gigantic turkey leg chawing and walking past Thunder Mountain Railroad.


Sales of pools are up big time…even little inflatable pools.  Covid pools if you will. We’re under record heat, can’t go anywhere…so blow up your pool…add water and jump in.  And when we’re not doing that?  We’re watching a lot more TV and Netflix and such.  Big Screen TV sales have also jumped big time since living in quarantine happened.  Kinda sorta makes common sense.



Carrie Underwood announced she will release a Christmas album this year.  It’s always a weird thing for songwriters.  You start writing Christmas songs in June at the latest as artists start recording their Christmas albums in the summer. I’ve written one new Christmas song this year with Brent Baxter and Nathan Woodard and that was indeed in early June.  100 degrees out and you’re writing about snow and Santa.



How about the Indy 50.  That’s right…not the Indy 500 but the Indy 50.  That event is going to take place at the famed Indianapolis Speedway in October of 2021. And the cars?  They will all be self-driven.  Universities will have their cars and they will compete.  Each self-driving car must be able to go 120 mph minimum for 50 laps. 1.5 MILLION dollars will be up for grabs.  No drivers to root for in this one.


I actually got to take a couple of laps in an Indy car with a professional driver years ago at the Kentucky Speedway.  They had designed a two-seater experience so members of the media could feel what it’s like to have your head snap into the turns when you’re flying around the track at 120 mph or whatever we were doing.  It’s and awesome feeling. And in those low Indy cars you feel like you’re sitting on the track itself.  If ya ever get the chance…don’t miss that opportunity.



Just for grins…literally.  Jim Carrey can make the “Grinch” face without makeup on and it still looks cool…and funny.  Take a look.



A guy in Jamaica wins a 75-million-dollar jackpot and he wants to keep it on the downlow.  So, what to do?  Well, he did what any Star Wars fan would do.  He dressed up with a Darth Vader mask on and picked up the check.  May the lotto be with you.



I’m back at Irene Kelley’s kitchen table doing a social distancing co-write today with her dog and parrot helping us out.  We still have not written a song about either of her pets…maybe today is the day.


Have a great Tuesday!   

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